Short Course Links VS Custom Leafs


New Member
Alright, I know this is in the "Desert Racing" Section but it's an open discussion context.
lets take a truck: Play toy strictly, no towing, no drag racing, just a street able truck that is NOT a daily driver. full caged 4wd solid axle front end-70% in the desert, 15% in the rocks 10%, dunes and rally type of fun and 5% getting chocolate shakes are DQ...

With 12-13.. maybe 14" of USEABLE wheel travel in the front, big King 3.0's and Hydro bumps.
Now to setup the rear end the options are custom leafs to pull 18-19" of wheel travel and big King 3.0's and hydro's OR 4 link short course style (Shocks on the axle) to pull 18" of wheel travel. King 3.0's C/O and Hydro's.
If we didn't take cost into account- you're going to do fuel cell and brake lines, axle upgrades etc. to both.
if we didn't take work into account- you're building a cage- you can build a 4 link/custom shackles/ frame mounts

Whats the real world difference? IN THEORY the shocks are almost the exact same, one has a threaded body and springs attached and the other is mounted to the leaf springs.


Well-Known Member
Getting 18-19 of good usable leaf spring travel out of a conventional leaf spring is easier said than done. Second, coil springs don't require maintenance, but leafs do. There shouldn't be a big performance difference between the two, but in actuality it's the coil setup, after the geometry is set, that will likely perform better because of the flexibility of adjusting spring rates. It's a pain in the ass to shuffle leaf packs that are over five feet long, and weigh 70-80 lbs. back and forth with a spring vendor. I have nothing but good things to say about Deaver and their performance, but given the choice that you presented, I'd opt for the c/o's.

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
I have no experience with coil overs and links. But I have been running leafs for a few years now, using it like you have described but with more DD time and more dunes, less rock time..

'73 K5 Blazer. D44 front and 12 bolt rear. Deaver springs front and rear with longer shackles, about 5" of lift. No shackle flip in the rear, just high arch springs. King 2.5 remote resis. 12" front, 18" rear and I've used every bit of it. The suspension was done by Solo when I bought it. I had to change a few things to get the full travel out of it and make it work. I've run the highways with a good ride, Pismo dunes with no issues. Trails down in Baja. Just did the old road out of Coco's corner to the gulf side after the 1000 last year. Was running 60 + down the course with no issues.


Well-Known Member
Basically, your question is "coil overs or leafs", since you're negating cost, work, etc.

A well setup C/O and Link setup, *should* outperform a leaf setup. The key being "well setup".

Leaf's also have inherent pro's as well, but those pro's are in the 2 areas that you aren't taking into account. Cost, Ease (Since I know what truck you have, and you can buy an off the shelf leaf basically setup for that truck...), etc. Leafs also have some inherent stability, whereas you may need a sway bar with coils.



Well-Known Member
The short course links will perform better no question. The best leaf spring set up i have encountered was the giant 64" deaver set up. I still feel that the short course link set up will out do the leafs. The only difficult part on the link set up is getting the spring rate dialed in.